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More Manna From Heaven for the Free State

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  • Tim Condon
    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-souter1aug01,0,828232.story?coll=la-home-nation Tim Condon -- Tampa, Florida -- Want to live in real
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 2, 2005
      http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-souter1aug01,0,828232.story?coll=la-home-nation

      Tim Condon -- Tampa, Florida -- Want to live in real liberty in your own
      lifetime? Check out WWW.FREESTATEPROJECT.ORG
      -----------------------------------------------------------
      "The great virtue of a free market system is that it does not care what
      color people are; it does not care what their religion is; it only cares
      whether they can produce something you want to buy. It is the most
      effective system we have discovered to enable people who hate one
      another to deal with one another and to help one another." - Prof.
      Milton Friedman


      August 1, 2005


      Political Lightning Rod Planted on New Hampshire Farmhouse

      # An L.A. activist's effort to take Justice Souter's land for a
      resort--citing a Supreme Court property ruling--earns praise and disdain.

      By Elizabeth Mehren, Times Staff Writer

      WEARE, N.H. -- When Tina Pelletier opened the mail at Town Hall the
      other day, a check for $100 fell out. Someone from out of state wanted
      to make reservations at Weare's first hotel.

      But the bed-and-breakfast envisioned on a remote site at the end of a
      dirt road is little more than a political activist's pipedream. The
      eight-acre parcel is still owned -- although seldom occupied -- by U.S.
      Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter.

      A proposal to seize Souter's 200-year-old home and replace it with a
      commercial development follows the high court's 5-4 decision June 23 on
      government seizure of private property by eminent domain. Souter sided
      with the majority to rule that governments can displace private citizens
      in the economic interest of the community.

      Los Angeles political activist Logan Darrow Clements said he was
      overwhelmed by the response since his website (www.freestarmedia.com)
      floated the notion of claiming Souter's property shortly after the Kelo
      vs. New London decision.

      "People are not just supportive, they are enthusiastic like I have never
      seen before in my life," said Clements, 36. He said thousands of people
      had contacted him to cheer his "Lost Liberty Hotel" project.

      "It has taken on a life of its own," he said. "People are practically
      throwing money at me. They want to invest in the hotel."

      But officials in Weare, a town of 8,500, did not welcome the plan to
      build a resort on Souter's homestead. Four of Weare's five selectmen
      issued a terse reply to Clements' letter inquiring about pursuing the
      hotel project.

      "We have no desire to take land from any owner, even when a legal taking
      is possible," the selectmen wrote.

      Clements, a follower of the social and political philosophy of Ayn Rand,
      said he was investigating the possibility of recalling the selectmen. He
      said he was confident his project would go through.

      "The whole project is symbolic, but that doesn't mean we don't plan on
      doing it for real," he said. "I believe I could actually do it."

      Clements described himself as an objectivist, explaining: "If you head
      toward libertarian and keep going, that is objectivism." In 2003 he ran
      for governor in California as an objectivist and received 274 votes.

      Clements also supports the Free State Project, an effort to move 20,000
      libertarians to New Hampshire in order to influence state government.

      He is an MBA who has turned his political leanings into a career,
      through Web journalism as well as a reality television show he is trying
      to develop about "people standing up against out-of-control
      governments." Clements said the winners on his "Survivor"-like program
      would not walk away with millions of dollars, "but they would win the
      admiration of millions of people."

      Unfortunately, Clements said, "left-wing Hollywood has not rushed to
      embrace" his idea.

      He said he had never visited Weare, a village about 15 miles from
      Concord that dates back to the 18th century, and had only seen pictures
      of Souter's rickety farmhouse.

      The house -- with dark brown paint peeling off and frayed window shades
      pulled down -- sits on an unmarked lane off of South Sugar Hill Road.
      One of the justice's neighbors is the Sugar Hill Speedway, a go-kart
      track. Chickens wander in and out of nearby home sites. Rusty pickups
      and creaky farm equipment litter many front yards. Giant greenhead flies
      eagerly attack visitors.

      "This is just crazy," said Winnie Ilsley, 77, who runs a store called
      Winnie's Little World at the end of Sugar Hill Road. "That hotel is
      never going to happen."

      Clements said he chose Souter as a target because "it had to be
      somebody. It is easier to go after one person than to go after all five"
      justices.

      Besides, he said: "Souter is a Republican who was picked by Republicans.
      I want to wake America up to the fact that Republicans frequently behave
      just the same as Democrats." Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said
      Souter would not comment about the plan to build a resort on his property.

      But many in the "Live Free or Die" state disagree with Souter's position
      in the case.

      The majority of justices held that because a proposed office park and
      hotel would provide greater tax revenue for the city of New London,
      Conn., than would the longtime homeowners, the dwellings could be razed
      for the development.

      In a recent University of New Hampshire poll, 93% of state residents
      said they opposed the taking of private land through eminent domain for
      the kind of private development envisioned in New London.

      "It was just an overwhelming response," said poll director Andrew Smith.
      "I was very surprised. You never see those sorts of numbers in public
      opinion polls. This opposition cut across the board -- it was all ages,
      all political leanings, all regions."

      Weare software engineer Joshua Solomon said the hotel proposal gave his
      town the chance to show that "we are not going to protect Justice Souter
      from his own rules."

      He said Weare had "financial issues, just like every other town in the
      country, and this would create a nice little revenue-generating
      business. A quaint country inn is something that people will go to. It
      would become a historical landmark: land that used to belong to a
      Supreme Court justice -- land that showed that one small town in America
      stood up and said no."

      Pelletier* *said the $100 check that fell out of the mail would be
      returned, along with other contributions sent from around the country.
      (Weare's tax collector, she happened to be opening the mail because the
      town clerk was on vacation.)

      Pelletier said she doubted the hotel plan would come to fruition. For
      one thing, "anybody who has been there knows it is the furthest thing
      possible from a worthwhile location. It is right on the flood plain."

      And the prospect of a hotel in Weare is laughable, she said.

      "We just got a Dunkin' Donuts," she said. "We don't have a pharmacy. We
      don't have a dry cleaners. What would we do with a hotel?"


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